DIRECTV vs. DISH satellite TV 2021 comparison

Is DIRECTV or DISH better? Compare plans, pricing and features to choose the best satellite TV provider for your home.

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Is DIRECTV or DISH better?

DIRECTV and DISH differ slightly in price, available channels, sports packs and DVR equipment. Depending on what you’re looking for in a TV service, you may find one provider to have an edge over the other.

You may prefer DISH if:

  • You want a consistent price
  • You want international channels
  • Watching every NFL game is not a priority for you
  • You like having the best recording technology and need to record lots of shows at once

You may prefer DIRECTV if:

  • You want more 4K content
  • You want to see every NFL game 
  • You like having more channel and package options to choose from
  • You want to bundle AT&T internet with your TV plan

DIRECTV vs. DISH network quick comparison

Is DIRECTV or DISH better?

The bottom line — Which is better: DISH or DIRECTV?

When it comes to DIRECTV vs DISH network’s prices, both providers offer similar packages and pricing. DISH has a more powerful DVR, capable of recording 16 shows at once. Plus, DISH excels in their selection of international channels. 

DIRECTV has more channels and package options, including the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET, plus an advantage when it comes to 4K content. 

Determining which provider is better for you also depends on what channels are important to you. DIRECTV and DISH plans vary in what channels they offer so research what package has your must-have channels below for each provider.

DIRECTV vs. DISH pricing and fees

DIRECTV and DISH offer the same introductory pricing, but the price for DISH stays the same throughout the two-year agreement. DIRECTV’s prices increase in the second year.

DISH vs. DIRECTV hidden fees

As far as DIRECTV vs. DISH network fees, there are some differences in hidden costs such as activation fees, regional sports fees and more. We compare the hidden costs below. 

  • Fees for HD programming and standard installation are included with DIRECTV and DISH packages. 
  • While both DIRECTV and DISH include one DVR device, they charge a rental fee for each additional device, ranging from $5 to $10/mo. (depending on device functionality).
  • Both providers may charge an added fee for whole-home DVR service, currently $15/mo. for DISH and $3/mo. for DIRECTV.
  • Depending on the package you select, you may also be charged a regional sports network (RSN) fee, which can vary by location. RSN for DISH ranges from $0-$3/mo.; RSN for DIRECTV is up to $9.99/mo.

The bottom line — Which is better: DISH or DIRECTV?

You’re more likely to get lower monthly prices and start-up costs with DISH, if you select a base package without add-ons or additional rooms/TV receivers (i.e. Joeys) and you qualify for no activation fee. But don’t forget to compare DISH packages to see which one has the TV channels you need.

DIRECTV vs. DISH packages

When it comes to package options, DIRECTV has a slight advantage over DISH. DIRECTV offers five channel packages to DISH’s four. Both providers offer add-on packages for premium channels, sports packs and international channels.

Take a look at available packages from each provider below, and check out our DIRECTV channel guide and DISH channel guide to see what channels come with each package.

Things to note about DISH and DIRECTV channel line-ups:

  • Lower-tiered DIRECTV and DISH packages offer similar channel lineups and pricing. 
  • DIRECTV’s top package gives you more than any DISH package. (DIRECTV’s PREMIER™ package includes HBO®, Showtime®, Cinemax® and STARZ/STARZ ENCORE networks, plus 70+ regional sports networks. DISH’s largest TV package, America’s Top 250, only includes STARZ ENCORE channels, which is similar to DIRECTV’s ULTIMATE package.)
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET is another advantage exclusive to DIRECTV. The pro football sports package gives subscribers “every live, out-of-market game, every Sunday” and is only available from DIRECTV. New customers who sign up for the CHOICE™ package or above can get a season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET included at no extra cost.

DIRECTV vs. DISH channel lineups

Wondering which satellite TV provider has your favorite channels? You’ll find a list of popular channels and which DIRECTV and DISH packages include them below.

DISH and DIRECTV full channel guides

If you are already leaning toward a particular TV provider, the next step is to compare DISH packages and DIRECTV plans side-by-side. Take a look at available packages from each provider below, and check out our DIRECTV channel guide and DISH channel guide to see what channels come with each package.

The bottom line — Which is better: DISH or DIRECTV?

Sports fans, especially NFL fans, will want to opt for DIRECTV for the NFL Sunday Ticket. TV watchers who want a general variety of popular channels will be better off with DISH. 

DIRECTV vs. DISH DVR equipment

Both providers include one main DVR device at no extra cost. Additional DIRECTV receivers can cost up to $7 per device, while additional DISH receivers cost $5 to $10 each. Get the DIRECTV Genie or the DISH Hopper 3 with any standard TV package.

DIRECTV Genie vs. DISH Hopper 3

The bottom line — Which is better: DISH or DIRECTV?

This is one category where DISH has a clear advantage. DISH’s Hopper 3 offers more recording capabilities and storage space than DIRECTV’s Genie. Plus, the Hopper 3 features a handy remote finder button and access to apps like Netflix and YouTube from the device.

Call to order: (844) 451-2720

DIRECTV vs. DISH mobile app

Both DISH and DIRECTV have useful apps available for free on Android and Apple devices. The DISH Anywhere App allows you to watch live TV on the go and manage your DVR. DIRECTV’s app has all those features, plus you can use it as a remote.

DIRECTV vs. DISH customer satisfaction

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), DIRECTV and DISH rank relatively high in customer satisfaction compared to other TV service providers. Both ranked higher on customer satisfaction scales compared to cable TV. Here’s how the two satellite TV providers scored over the past three years.

J.D. Power also gave DISH and DIRECTV high marks in customer satisfaction in 2020, as “AT&T/DIRECTV and DISH Network rank highest nationally in a tie with a score of 763.“

The bottom line — Which is better: DISH or DIRECTV?

You can’t go wrong here! Both DIRECTV and DISH have equally high scores for customer satisfaction.


Do you have to install a satellite dish to get DIRECTV or DISH Network?

Yes. Both providers require you to install a satellite dish to receive service. Equipment and standard installation are included at no extra cost with DIRECTV and DISH.

Neither DIRECTV or DISH offer internet. AT&T acquired DIRECTV in 2015, so bundling options with AT&T’s internet plans may be available in some areas. HughesNet and Viasat are popular satellite internet providers, but your home may also be eligible for DSL, cable or fiber-optic internet services.

Netflix is not included with either service. However, the Hopper 3 from DISH lets you access your Netflix account from the DVR, so you don’t have to switch cables or inputs to watch Netflix.

DIRECTV and DISH both offer local channels with their main TV packages. In most locations, local channels are also available in HD resolution.

No. DIRECTV is the sole provider of NFL SUNDAY TICKET. However, DISH does offer NFL Network and NFL RedZone with select packages, plus local channels for your in-market games and ESPN for Monday Night Football.

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David Anders

Written by:

David Anders

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV content. His work has been referenced by a variety of sources, including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. As a Senior Writer, David is motivate… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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